Tuesday, November 01, 2011


How a brain-manipulating virus turns caterpillars into zombies

"Behavior-modifying parasites are getting more press as of late, with reports of zombie ants and Toxoplamsa-infected rats that become sexually attracted to cats. But it's not just organisms that manipulate their hosts; there's at least one behavior-modifying virus. Just as the parasitic organisms do, baculoviruses change their host's behavior for their own benefit, ensuring their propagation. When infected with a baculovirus, European gypsy moth caterpillars behave in a way that healthy gypsy moth caterpillar never would." Full news article @ ARS Technica

Paper: Kelli Hoover, Michael Grove, Matthew Gardner, David P. Hughes, James McNeil, and James Slavicek [2011]. "A Gene for an Extended Phenotype". Science. 333 (6048), 1401.

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